|“||...What got rid of the guilt stopping us was our love for our test subject! Because our hearts were filled with love, it didn’t matter how many cruel things we had to do to it, we would still do them all!||”|
Salomé Carpenter (サロメ・カーペンター, Sarome Kāpentā) is the subordinate director and chief researcher of Rhythm, the personal research faction of Huey Laforet. He has had a direct hand in the creation of many homunculi under Huey's command, including Rail and Christopher Shaldred.
Salomé's hair is described as "mostly tinged white" (although in his only illustrated appearance it appears mostly black)—but despite this he himself does not seem particularly aged. In the same drawing, he appears to be wearing a business suit.
He also wears aviator goggles—for what reason is unknown.
Salomé is keenly interested in scientific achievement, and thus takes pride in his creations, viewing the test subjects themselves as akin to lab mice. He is willing to subject them to immensely painful experimentation in order to achieve his desired results, but claims that he feels incredibly guilty putting them through such torture and listening to their cries. He states that he feels love for his creations (often with tears in his eyes), which is supposedly why he is able to put them through such misery at all. He has displayed a cold willingness to dispose of homunculi that have failed or otherwise disappointed him, as seen in 1935-B when he seemed prepared to eliminate eight members of the Lamia, referring to them as "instruments" whom he "loves."
Salomé's first speaking appearance is in 1934, in which he delivers a monologue expressing his disappointment over losing Rail (one of his test subjects) to an information broker. Throughout the majority of the monologue he refers to Rail as "subject number 0038." He describes how he and his subordinates create their test subjects and put them through "horrific ordeals," to which Rail was no exception; Salomé proceeds to elaborate on how he and his subordinates vivisected Rail without anesthesia as part of an experiment testing how much pain Rail (and other immortals) could endure.
Salomé soon compares Rail to Elmer C. Albatross, who like Rail endured immense torture for many years. Whereas Rail lost the ability to feel pain due to the torture, Elmer lost his emotions. Salomé explains that he had thought Elmer would make for a good subject and suggested to Huey that Elmer be 'observed,' only for Huey to stop him and rule Elmer off-limits. Salomé thought it was "amazing" that Huey, a man who saw the whole world and his own daughters as test subjects, could say such a thing...but he reasoned that perhaps Elmer was the one person left connecting Huey to the rest of the world.
Salomé returns to discussing Rail and admits that he finds the fact that Rail, someone who "naturally defies" the scientists but is "reduced to dread" in their presence quite amusing. When the information broker (the narrator) asks him why he could do such horrible things to a child, Salomé replies that although he and the other researches saw Rail on the same level as a "lab mouse" rather than as a human, they still felt "indescribably guilty" and that their crimes were "unforgivable." Still, they were able to overcome their feelings of guilt and shame because "they loved [Rail]."
He then quotes Lebreau Fermet Viralesque, who once said "it was only because he loved his subjects so much that he was able to bear the pain of treating them so cruelly." Recalling the rumor that Fermet had been devoured by Czeslaw Meyer, Salomé muses that if Rail were to devour or kill him, he would welcome it as the "sweetest fate possible." He concludes his thoughts by saying that the disappearance of the test subject they all loved was the reason "tears were welling from [his] eyes."
The information broker asks him what happened after Rail was lost, and before Salomé begins recounting the events that followed (that is, the rest of the novel), he says that thanks to the information gathered by Sham and Hilton, they were able to identify the "main culprits" (Jacuzzi Splot, Nice Holystone and the delinquents) of this case.
Towards the end of the novel, after finishing recounting the events of the past several days, Salomé calls the entire affair "sad" and says that if he had been present at the final explosion he might have been able to "salvage [Rail]," or at least make Rail's death a meaningful one by studying it. He is unaware that Rail has actually survived.
In early 1935, Salomé waits in a parked vehicle as the muscle men under his command confront Claire Stanfield on a deserted street (it is deserted due to their own actions. Claire knocks one of the men down, and after threatening the others he calls for Salomé to come out and face him. Salomé, wearing aviator goggles (presumably to hide his eyes), exits the car and with his hand signals to his men to fall back. Claire asks him if he is "the boss," to which Salomé replies that he is just a "mid-level manager." Claire then mistakenly addresses him as Bartolo Runorata, having tired of guessing his name. Salomé introduces himself and asks Claire if he really did beat Christopher Shaldred (who was fighting at full strength) at the Mist Wall. Claire's answer is vague ("I dunno! Well, what about him?") and Salomé, grinding his teeth, responds that he cannot believe Christopher, one of their most "capable creations," was defeated 'out of hand' without witnessing such a defeat with his own eyes.
Eight members of the Lamia arrive and surround Claire. Salomé spreads his arms and asks if Claire has anything he would like to say to the Lamia, who harbor hostile feelings toward him. Claire spreads his own arms and asks them to praise him. Salomé slumps in surprise. Claire explains that Christopher had told him to brag to the Lamia if he was victorious, so Claire was doing just that. Salomé asks if that was the reason Claire fought Christopher at all, and Claire launches into a speech about how he loves being praised. Salomé sighs and orders the Lamia to begin "the experiment" (the testing of Claire's ability) with the caveat that they must not kill Claire. Claire argues that an eight-against-one fight is not fair, and suggests that if they include Salomé (making the number of people ten) they can fight five-on-five, which would be fair. He then points to four of the Lamia and states that they are on "his team."
Salomé orders that the experiment commence, and stands out of the way as all eight of the Lamia attack Claire, who avoids attacking the four he marked as on "his team" and simply dodges their attacks (while 'protecting' them) while attacking those on the "opposing team." When one of his 'allies,' (the tattooed girl) attempts to use poison, Claire stops her, pointing out that she will hurt her comrades if she uses her speciality. Upon hearing Claire's words, Salomé (realizing that Claire had managed to notice her appearance and guess her speciality in the middle of such a chaotic fight) thinks to himself that Claire is "a perfect human" and then reconsiders: "he destroys the very definition of humanity!"
Salomé says that Claire is like a vampire come to life, and then acknowledges that he was supposed to be on the team against Claire and that if he does not join in he will be accused of cutting corners. He looks at the Lamia and shakes his head in disappointment, commenting that he made an error in selecting his 'instruments.' The experiment, he announces, ought to be reset. The Lamia are visibly alarmed, realizing he is planning something. With tears in his eyes, Salomé assures them that it will be alright because he 'truly loves all of them'. He then freezes upon seeing Huey Laforet, who has descended from the rooftop from where he had been watching the confrontation with Tim, leader of the Larva. Huey informs him that "this kind of recklessness is not allowed," and Salomé, pale and sweating, immediately apologizes. Huey and Claire converse for a minute or two, and Huey, noting that Claire is Chané Laforet's first suitor, suggests he treat Claire to dinner. Huey then turns to Salomé and asks if his car can hold two more people. Salomé wordlessly agrees.
Huey and Claire enter the car's backseat. Salomé takes the passenger seat, and they are driven to a nearby restaurant by Salomé's butler.
Salomé has a brief appearance in 1935-C, accompanying Huey Laforet on top of a Manhattan skyscraper. Huey asks him how "the preparations" are proceeding; Salomé answers "smoothly." He then questions whether using Huey's daughters (Chané and Leeza Laforet) as decoys is really a good idea, and Huey remarks that both of them agreed despite the risk of death. Salomé, his eyes sparkling, admits that he finds it hard to think of the two as siblings given that they are emotional opposites. Exuberant, he exclaims that Huey and Renee have created a pair of masterpieces, and suggests that they could become "excellent samples for...homunculi." Calming down, Salomé asks Huey which daughter does he plan on giving Renee; Huey's reply is ambiguous. Salomé excuses himself, returning to the preparations that Huey's entrusted him with.
In 1935-D, Salomé speaks to Huey in a Runorata manor about his personal opinions on knowledge, and how he does not believe that one should rely too heavily on the knowledge that immortals have accumulated (since the older knowledge is, the more likely it is to have mistakes). Huey is unsurprised, considering that Salomeé prizes experimentation over logic. Salomé counters that no-one prioritizes experiments more than Huey, and that he personally is extremely excited to see the results of Huey's latest experiment. So excited, in fact, that he is perfectly willing to let his 'darling children' (the Larva) be 'used up and crushed' in the experiment.
Huey remarks that if Salomé continues to treat his lab materials like property he will eventually be betrayed by them. Salomé thinks that this is rich, coming from someone who views the world as his guinea pig. Huey replies that 'that order was reversed' for him, and makes a reference to his past—and how the world and his own 'clumsy ideals' betrayed him. Salomé knows better than to 'overstep his bounds' and dig into Huey's past, so he changes the subject and asks about Huey's meeting with Firo Prochainezo the day before. He is surprised that Leeza Laforet did not create a fuss over their meeting, considering that Firo took Huey's eye.
Huey nonchalantly reveals that Leeza actually has a crush on Firo, which shocks Salomé greatly. He says that he had been shocked to learn that Chané had a sweetheart as well, though it had made sense once he met Claire.
There is a knock on the door, and in walks Claire himself. He greets Huey as 'father,' and Huey reminds him to continue protecting Melvi Dormentaire—who will be going 'all out' tomorrow at Ra's Lance. Claire asks permission to leave for a little while so he can find Charkie, a bear he knows who seems to have escaped. Salomé has heard of the bear in question, and asks Huey's permission to join the 'bear hunt' as well (Claire corrects him—it is a 'rescue mission', not 'bear hunt'). Salomé adds that they will certainly earn the gratitude of the Runoratas if they retrieve the bear, and that there's 'something he wants to try.'
He receives permission. Salomé leaves (with Claire), fetches a new device of his—a portable speaker system and battery pack—rounds up several Lamia members, and heads to Central Park. There, he uses the speaker system to project an enormous noise that is engineered to summon the bear and control it. The system works: Charkie charges into Central Park, with Isaac & Miria riding upon its back. They are followed by Ladd Russo and Graham Specter, and then Gabriel and Juliano on motorcycles.
Salomé is immediately intrigued by Ladd and Graham, and Sickle and The Poet attempt to convince him (much to his skepticism) that the two men are too strong to engage with. Ladd, having concluded that Salomé is irredeemably smug, punches him in the face. A battle ensues between almost all parties. Meanwhile, Christopher arrives in the park; Victor Talbot is present as well. Charkie roars in confusion—so loudly that everybody stops in their tracks. Chané arrives, and when she and Ladd recognize each other they are both primed for a rematch. The large-scale fighting resumes.
Claire borrows Salomé's speaker and uses it to fire off a sonic-like sound to catch everyone's attention. Recognizing him, Charkie dumps Isaac and Miria and runs over to him; Claire gets onto Charkie's back and uses the loudspeaker to reassure a visibly distressed Chané that he loves her however she is. He also challenges anyone who wants to fight him to look for him at the party at Ra's Lance, where he will be guarding a certain someone. Tensions escalate, and battle lines are drawn: Salomé is on the side of the Runoratas, the Lamia, the twins, and Huey.
On the evening of Day Three of the casino party, Salomé and Huey prepare to carry out their Plan when Huey is approached by Molsa Martillo. Molsa proposes a 'gamble.'
(To be continued in 1935-E)
- Salomé admires Fermet, speaking of Fermet's 'love' for Czes and using it as a means for emulation. He also seems to respect Renee, referring to her as a "great pioneer."
- Salomé believes in God. He uses this belief and says if God exists it follows that he and his scientists are the gods of the homunculi they've created.
- Salomé considers Christopher to be "his masterpiece."